Direct hotline between ASEAN defense ministers launched

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The ASEAN Defense Ministers. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — A direct hotline between defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been launched in Clark, Pampanga Wednesday.

The ASEAN Direct Communications Infrastructure (ADI) was launched at the Fourth ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus. It is designed as a secure way for leaders to communicate and efficiently address problems that may arise.

The launch was spearheaded by the current chairman of the ADMM, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Brunei Darussalam's Minister of Energy and Industry, Pehin Dato Mohammad Yasmin who presented the key management system of the ADI.

"One of the main characteristics of the ADMM and ADMM-Plus that we are proud of is that they go beyond the ministerial platforms for dialogue, and actually serve as mechanisms for practical cooperation," Lorenzana said.

In 2013, Brunei Darussalam Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah initiated the idea of a direct communications link (DCL) during his chairmanship of the 22nd ASEAN Summit.

Bolkiah previously said, "It is important to have in place practical procedures, which could assist in avoiding undesired incidents at sea."

The concept paper of the ADI in 2014 states: "The establishment of a DCL at defence minister level would complement the existing bilateral naval initiatives or procedures, and add value to the existing information-sharing mechanisms in the region, as well as enhance coordination and cooperation in addressing nontraditional security challenges."

The ADMM aims to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.

Lorenzana met with other defense officials from the ASEAN member states, as well as those from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and United States.